tv Washington Journal Dan Caldwell and Jon Soltz CSPAN May 25, 2019 9:00pm-9:58pm EDT
week in primetime, c-span has coverage of commencement ceremonies taking place across the country. featured speakers include marilyn representative of elijah cummings, defense secretary ,atrick shanahan, stacey abrams donald trump, and sonja sotomayor. watch online, anytime at c-span.org and listen on the free c-span radio app. a discussion of foreign the believess with of two veteran groups joining us here on washington journal tonight. , senior -- by dan caldwell, and by jon soltz. thank you for joining us. you have announced efforts to
lobby capitol hill on matters of foreign policy. talk about the perspective you come with on this issue. guest: in 2006, to help people win elections that would oppose george bush's war in iraq. 700,000 people strong in our organization. very concerned about our lack of restraint and foreign policy with u.s. forces fighting all over the world under legal authorization from 2001. not a democrat or republican problem, a bipartisan issue. it has been an issue important 's us and now working with dan organization which had been our opponent across the board outside of foreign policy. did work last year on the yemen bill and we found common ground between our organizations that
mirrors what you see in congress , conservatives and progressive members of congress concerned about the inability of congress to do their job on foreign policy. host: same thing as your efforts as you oppose so many issues. do good andotto is no one do harm. rivalryhad an intense over the years on a host of have hadrganizations many political battles in races across the country but we found common ground and found some shared goals. we are putting together our resources and leveraging our grassroots armies that we have respectfully built across the spectrum to ultimately advance policies we believe will lead to a better foreign policy for the united states. the issue is that the foreign policy we have been pursuing, especially over the last 17, 18
years, has not made us safer. wasinvasion of iraq probably one of the worst foreign-policy disasters in american history if not the worst and has led to problems in the middle east today. we need to make sure that does not happen again and one of the ways we think we can help pursue a better foreign policy is by urging congress to reassert its role in shaping american foreign-policy. that is the focus on this week with our grassroots armies on capitol hill meeting with members and urging them to go with the barbara lee bill to repeal legislation that rand paul and senator udall. is it and what does it do and how does it shaped the current way we do foreign-policy? 9/11: it was signed after with support from everybody. at some level you
could argue it is justified but under president trump, u.s. forces has died in yemen, some all you, iraq, syria, libya, afghanistan. i do not think any american remembers when there was a vote to send u.s. trips into -- u.s. troops into somalia. congress is not doing their job and they are still using this authorization to send u.s. troops to fight organizations in africa that did not exist on 9/11. a newsflash that he u.s. soldier has died in combat who died -- was born after the towers fell. host: the authorization says the president can use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations and persons he determines planned, authorized, onmitted a terrorist attack
september 11 or harvard organizations or persons in order to prevent future acts of international terrorism against the united states. what is wrong with the wording? guest: it is not necessarily how it has been written but how it is being interpreted. both the obama administration and the bush administration and now the donald trump administration is using the law, clearly designed to authorize force after 9/11, which was justified, we had to punish and kill those responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attack, we did not oppose that action. it is being used to justify conflicts that are clearly not related to 9/11. many of these groups we are going after in africa and other parts of the middle east did not exist on 9/11. they have no relationship to the groups or individuals that were responsible and may have audio -- they may have ideological similarities and affinity for
osama bin laden but these organizations are not part of the 9/11 conspiracy and they are still using the authorization which is clearly past -- to hold those responsible for 9/11, and without anars, many in game and no sense of accountability. we feel congress having these debates over these wars and these discussions will foster a better foreign-policy and a better strategy. as some have said, repealing this law one not remove the ability to defend ourselves against imminent terrorist attacks. we will still have the capability to do training and other types of engagement. some say to repeal the law we remove our ability to respond to imminent threat but that is not true. we think this is about these endless wars and not about
counterterrorism or responding to the threat of terrorism. host: do you think that it should be modified or dropped? what is the best approach? guest: let's debate it. and a second conversation about what it looks like. lee's bill barbara legal standard. this does not mean we cannot defend ourselves. this is about us reaffirming congress's role under the constitution and regards how a country goes to war and being awol for 18 years is not what we are looking for. we want to repeal it and have a conversation of what it looks like. is there an organization that related -- that is related to 9/11. question, two-part having a serious conversation about repealing this, democrats three or four years ago said we
need a new aumf but do not want to strong on the obama administration but how do you feel when obama is gone? this is larger than an administration problem because all three administrations have been throwing the military over the world and congress not doing their job. repeal it first and then have a conversation about how to repeal it. we do not want to go to zero with some of these countries but we are not close to that conversation which is negligent of our congress controlled by both parties over the last 18 years at different times. our objective is to show congress that people who serve in war want to talk about it because too often they refer to the brass and the pentagon who are derelict in their duties to protect the soldiers under their command and would rather say, easy for me to get the money for this program. host: jon soltz and dan caldwell
it to talk about foreign-policy issues. iraqk them a question, and veteran call us at 202-748-8000. all others, 202-748-8001. dan caldwell, a little bit about your organization and military experience. guest: i served in the marine corps for four years and spent time at washington, d.c. and i went to the first marine division and i deployed with them to iraq and in 2008 and 2009. the organization, we are veterans grassroots advocacy organization whose mission is to preserve the prosperity we fought and sacrificed for and we do that by advancing policies and we strengthen -- to strengthen our nation and veterans by focusing on educating veterans military families and also americans on
important public policy issues and mobilizing them and activating them to make sure they have their voice heard in the policymaking process. that is our focus and what i think separates us. other organizations are focused mainly on providing services helping people get benefits and things like that, they do a little bit of lobbying, but our focus is advancing good policy. guest: the largest progressive veterans group in the united states with 100,000 veterans, if you are a veteran who does not feel represented by veterans groups who have been a wrong -- around for a long time, we will fight for progressive values and we spent a lot of our time on the political side, advocating on policy we feel is progressive and good for the united states. kosovolly, i served in on active duty.
part of the first armored division and was in iraq in 2003 and served in baghdad. in the summer and fall of that year. 2011 andck to iraq in was in charge of a team in , and was there at the very end of the initial pull out. host: we have calls for both of you. a veteran in toledo, ohio, tim. caller: i am a navy veteran. it goes with i want to say. capitalism and the whole nine yards, a lot of people are getting to the point they just react with emotion and not being able to think logically about it. i was in the navy in 1981
overseas and i remember it,apore, i thought about what capitalism really means, it means money is the most important thing in the world and i do not think that is what our society is supposed to be. they say money is the most important and socialism says people are the most important thing and you have to find in the middle. host: since we are talking about foreign-policy, what issue would you like our guest to address in terms of foreign policy? caller: the same way, if we want freedom the way we want to live here we have to acknowledge other people should live the way they want to and if iran should be an islamic country, that is their right. -- if i couldng ask a presidential candidate a when wouldt would be you ask u.s. troops to die in a form country?
--ould hope their answer that does not mean we love and support autocratic regimes world, but when you look at the problems u.s. troops had in somalia or iraq in the last part of the 20 century, and early 21st century, you have to look at why did things fall apart in bosnia with a political agreement in place and u.s. forces were enforcing that. the will of the people is important and i would argue there is no will for u.s. troops in the middle east until you can get the saudi's and iranians and russians and the gulf states together to have a conversation about the future of the region. in reality, u.s. troops are caught in the middle. guest: we believe that our system of government, liberal democratic system and a free
market system, is the best system of government. as part of that, we do not think it is right to impose that on the world. canope world -- the world build a society in mutual benefit but when we try to impose that in iraq and afghanistan, the results are disastrous, not just for americans but for the people there. in afghanistan, based on their culture and dynamics in the country, they are not ready for our system of government and trying to impose it by force does not lead to good outcomes. should use force overseas when there is a clear threat to american national interest with a clear objective and clear outcome. we do not think trying to impose these systems of governments, our system of government across the world, helps secure our national security.
host: is it time for u.s. troops to leave afghanistan? guest: absolutely, american troops should start withdrawing and we hope the peace process continues and we are pleased the donald trump administration is pursuing that but we do not need to have a massive military presence in afghanistan for the peace process to continue. guest: the problem in afghanistan was ever scope was too broad. when we use it as a platform to kill osama bin laden, if the military had played a better role in the conversation, that would have been the decisive point for withdrawal under the boundaries of the 2001 bill said. host: john in tempo, florida -- tampa, florida. >> as a civilian i have the highest respect for our veterans and it breaks my heart that the same bad actors that got us into
the unnecessary invasion in iraq 16 years ago are the same bad actors pushing us to go to war unnecessarily with a much larger country of iran, which probably four years has sent sleeper cells across the porous mexican border. there will be buses blowing up in the states if we go to war with iran and it would be a bigger disaster than the invasion of iraq. that has been the greatest single u.s. disaster in foreign-policy and these bad actors are corporate and control the republican party and the like to party of israel -- li cud party of israel which controls our politicians. war with iran will be a disaster and not in our interest as the iraq invasion was not in our interest so keep our veterans to do the service they are intended to do, protect america. host: your assessment of iran and what you think should
happen. guest: this is a dog and pony show. dan can talk about what is going on inside the white hat -- white house. insight have a lot of but have some on the military side where my friends still serve. i see this as saber rattling right now. the iran thing is complicated. ,hen i explain to people without the academics involved, the war in the middle east, there are two wars, radical islam against western troops and target, but the real larger war is the war between the saudi agents and iranian agents in syria and yemen. wholeou look at iran as a and my personal experience in
iraq, iranian agents were in iraq in 2003. the invasion in iraq was a huge they pray for iran. -- victory for iran. ofeasonable actor is sort one of the most powerful local people in the country outside the democracy and the iranians where the winners and in 2011 when i was in northern iraq, syria and -- syrian radicals came over the border and killed iraqi forces and when i went to another city in my second tour i was thrilled by iranian made rockets and u.s. troops have been caught in the middle of the war for a long time and there is a huge risk they are putting our military in the region by saber rattling unnecessarily with the iranians for domestic political consumption. guest: i think president trump said it best when he said during his state of union that great
nations do not fight other wars. it will be an endless war. iran is not a good actor in the region. jon gave reasons they are not good. with north korea and other countries -- iran is fairly isolated in the region when it comes to regional actors that are not aligned with them, saudi's, uae, pakistan who has had their ups and downs. they are checked by other regional powers. power because of our invasions and power in syria but that is not a powerful nation, weekend by their civil war. you have israel and the egyptians and the jordanians that are working to check iranian power. the caller mentioned mistakes we have made leading up to the iraq
war and i hope we learn from those mistakes. we think president trump instinctively does not want another conflict in the middle east and his heart is in the right place but our concern is there our actions taken that may force us into what is right now an unnecessary war. and a war with iran would not benefit anyone, it would make us less safe, troops in iraq, qatar, bahrain, saudi arabia. it would be a bloody mess and not be easy, it would not be just a few airstrikes but a long war. host: john bolton, secretary of state mike pompeo, advising on these issues. guest: in regards to john bolton, i have told other people , i am not in the room and do not know what he says to president trump. in the past, he has advocated for foreign policy different from the president.
him being in the ministries and with different views is not necessarily a bad thing but when it becomes bad is if he is ultimately impeding the foreign policy president trump wants and the foreign policy the president has advocated is more restrained. we would not agree with everything he has said or done by the vision he laid out is for a more restrained foreign policy. we would be concerned if ambassador bolton ultimately working behind the scenes undermining the president's foreign-policy vision. mike pompeo, he has been more clear in saying that i am here i serve the president, a -- may have had different ideas in the past but ultimately i will work with the president and help him accomplish his foreign-policy vision. guest: i agree. i have less information into the inner workings but bolton is a
concern because he has been wrong about everything and he did not serve in vietnam and does not know the price our troops pay. if president ran to the left of -- the president ran to the left of hillary clinton on these issues. when you saw h.r. mcmaster convince him to put additional troops in afghanistan, a huge failure, you see some of those same leanings from john bolton. without general mattis at the pentagon, you lose a check in slow rolling the presidents ideas. i think bolton is concerning because you see the back and forth this week of -- on iran whether it is a good idea or bad idea and it seems like administration is not on the same page. if the president said i say it homeough, bring the troops
, we will thank him because he is the president. i say that with integrity that it seems like there are forces inside the administration not listening to his intent as they have their own interest and bolton seems to be a culprit. host: los angeles caliphate -- los angeles, california, a veteran. caller: how are you doing? during the current the policy on, transgender military members, the initial statement from the white house said senior military members were in line with these decisions but thereafter, the coast guard leader said he was not in agreement. conflicts to highlight between statements made by senior military and the white house.
it seems to be a continual trend where the current administration makes claim that the military is on board with issues and actions when they do not seem to be. could you comment on that? host: thank you, color. guest: mattis played a role in the transistor -- transgender issue. we think transgender member of the military should be able to serve openly. transgender troops are buried in arlington cemetery and have served our country and it is on america not allow them to participate -- un-american not to allow them to participate as who they are. i feel terrible for the community. the military went through training to prepare for this. the obama administration. members of the military that were transgender were able to
come out and say they are transgender. ofputs them in a conundrum knowing there are transgender members but having a policy and it is disgraceful of the trap administration as they are desktop administration -- the trump administration. the military is not always in a position to say what they want. it is a huge issue for our country when you openly discriminate against a group. guest: we have not taken a position on this issue. we are not supposed -- opposing or supporting it. messages,is the mixed that is never good for a military force, particularly one engaged in combat overseas. we think like general mattis said, we need to focus on making sure we had the most lethal and capable force without
distractions. it is working its way through the courts. that is ultimately how this issue will be resolved. host: the guests are dan caldwell from concern veterans for america, their senior advisor, and jon soltz. key west, florida, hello. caldwell, you said the iraq war was potentially the worst foreign policy mistake in the nations history but may i if you would say perhaps it was not? those who supported the war had another agenda and the agenda they are supporting today? it is not in the best interest of the american people. was in theentors
background who makes the decisions and i asked him about a serious foreign-policy decision they made, i said, what about a vote of the people? he said, you do not turn the to people of a nation who do not know anything about international finance. you would not turn your home over to someone 12 years old and who knew nothing about your personal velocity. the country has been taken over by a group of people who do not have our veterans in mind. going to war with iran, what for? is a former member of the united states marine corps. it is time for us to stop this. host: thank you. agree --strongly strongly disagree with regards
to iraq, the evidence is clear that it is one of our worst foreign-policy mistakes, if not the worst, the next 5-10 years, we will probably say it is the worst. even if things stabilize in the next 10-15 years, the damage of the short, medium, long-term do not justify this intervention. in regards to how our country makes decisions, we are not a dictatorship, we are a republic, democratic republic, that is one of the reasons our nation has become the greatest on earth and probably be greatest in human history. guest: an interesting point he made about -- was the war a mistake? it was a mistake of the united states military and the taxpayer. a mistake for the american who cares about national security but the iranians are the banners.
-- are the winners. kurds are better without saddam hussein, yes. in america, the war has been terrible for the country. that what makes complex arguments that tom cotton, he wants to wage war with iranians. where you sit is where you stand. warironic part of the iraq is that it was created and manufactured from this town and it hurt our country but may have benefited different actors in places around the world. host: texas, a veteran, thomas. caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. most of the moderators, i respect you, your causes are appreciated by all of us that have served.
my comment directs to the issue of should we go to war without congressional approval. absolutely not. we should not. the problem is one of control and power. congress cannot get out of its own way. they have not been able to for 20 years. vile hates syndrome is so that no matter what the president supports, they are against. this is obvious in interviews in the last three days. the president does, and we do see he does not want to be fighting wars in the area of the world. let them do what they want. on the flipside, trying to listen to the truth, without the fake news filter, and try to get we believe truth
is teddy roosevelt syndrome, a good syndrome, walk tall and carry a big stick. we do need our forces to be visible and have the capability in case -- and have the right people to do that. on the other hand, to go over there without our congress to vote and say yes or no, is wrong. we have to fight for that. host: that was thomas. thank you. guest: congress should always vote. i think some of the best advocates in our history or restrain foreign-policy, the president has 90 days under war powers. a responsible president would go to congress and authorized or ask for approval for any long-term commitment, which is
why we are here today and why veterans are here. we agree with that. there is a chance for bipartisan work on this issue. advocates that wanting more restrained foreign policy but he cannot hear our message because he is on twitter and his personal sort of issues with certain groups or people become personal and that does not enable him to find common ground. which he could on things like this. guest: the dynamic he identified with congress about wanting to win these issues, something we are trying to change because congress has punted across three administrations on war and peace, some exceptions, recently the first use of the war powers resolution to condemn and stop the american role in the saudi led war in yemen. president trump beat of that, we
were -- vetoed that, we were disappointed. we want to help congress get to a better place as they used to be more active in shaping american foreign-policy and we think that is the first set -- first step to better foreign-policy. this is not something that just started happening in the donald trump administration, it was under democratic congresses, republican congresses, unfortunately something that has the going on for a long time. really going back to the end of the cold war. you have seen this long slide of where we are today. host: a new york times article highlighted the alliance of yours. talk about your appearance on this program and how easy was it for you to come together on this issue? what was the process? guest: it is hard to overstate how vicious at times our disagreements have been. there are things we have said
about each other we probably do not want to repeat in polite company. we have been on the opposite sides of a lot of political fights and policy five, but probably about six months ago, we had an invite to come on this show. i have goneine and back and forth on twitter, i have called him a socialism, nasty things, i came on the show to promote -- i was in arizona seeing family for thanksgiving and i came on the show to battle but it was a civil conversation and we found we agreed on a lot on foreign-policy. you had affiliated groups, part network working with vote vets on the human issue and we thought they are coming to the table in a serious way. let's talk one-on-one and see
where we can find common ground. we are working together with members from our organization to enjoy meetings and offices on the hill this week. guest: i did not want to come on the show. [laughter] host: today? guest: no, in november. i said, i do not want to yell at dan caldwell. i yelled at his predecessor over war. against the iraq war. on.d not want to come the yemen thing health. -- helped. we were part of a coalition in florida against each other in a senate race. we were part of a coalition to allow people with felonies in florida to get their voting rights back.
that was probably the first time. we started to see potentially an opportunity. to talk to him. and i have not been polite to each other in the past, i figured it was best to give it to someone else and we said, maybe we can do something great. is we can come together on this one issue and maybe make a big fundamental change. we cannot bring back begin its or tax payers but our kids will pay for this war. but can we help the next generation maybe not go to war that never stops because congress said they will not have the courage to do the job they were elected to which to approve -- which is to approve foreign-policy. host: karen, go ahead. caller: i am an army veteran
from 1979-1971. -- 1979-1981.y we had to wait three years before the wind back to a -- before we went back to an area but now they come back six months, nine bunds and they go back -- nine months, and they go back, what has happened to this? guest: there are some hardship tours where if you return for the war -- from the war, the ininating 72 -- vietnam 1972, we redesigned the military and every time the military goes war,r, 30%, 40% of the they have to come from the reserve. never in the history of the united states -- when you watch
a special on 50 years, it will be how many times did you go? it was the 19-year-old drafted in your parents generation. what we have done to the american military is unprecedented and i do not know the long-term costs. there are some protections for the active guard when it comes to the amount of deployment. it is unprecedented what we have done. the reason the guard and reserve were forced to participate because the public would not feel the effects of the war. in theamerican children right age to serve in iraq or afghanistan didn't. deployment,epeated i think that, despite the
broader strategic foreign-policy failure, what our military has achieved at a tactical an individual level is amazing. a lot of heroism. a lot of people standing up in the face of deployment, going back again and again and performing honorably and very proficiently, that is a testament to this generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines. physically,ost on mentally, family relationships. , we, on a capability level lose our ability to compete against great powers. jon can talk about this better. --st: this is a large as you issue going forward, we do not have people that command battalions at the army level that have a lot of experience
force on force in major conflicts. the russians have revamped their military and have done very ukrainetactics in the using artillery and rockets. there is a concern across the river at the pentagon our conventional capabilities to fight a large ground force battle. it has been degraded. to get somebody proficient at 15 or 16 years in the military, they need to have experienced doing force on force conventional conflicts and we have been protecting mosques and driving patrols and feeding civilians. that has degraded some conventional capabilities. host: cincinnati, ohio, john. caller: good morning, brothers, thank you for your service, i did two tours in iraq.
2009, 2010. i want to thank you for bringing up veterans issues. something i believe is of concern for us going forward, not just the things that affect veterans, we have the issue where we are dealing with troops services.edical we have had a rejection -- reduction of workforce where we need to get services to make sure our bodies are well taken care of post military service. i would like your opinions on how we can better advocate for veterans issues now that we are out of the service and look forward to a brighter future. briefly, one thing i heard yesterday on the news, the
post-9/11 war generation will be the next greatest generation of leaders just like john mccain and i would like your input on that as well. thank you very much, gentlemen. guest: i hope our generation does step up and serve in leadership positions across the country honorably and with integrity. hopefully you will see that happen more in the next years. in regards to the medical question, this is an issue we had a diversion of opinion. we at concern veterans for americans had been focused on reforming the v.a. with better integration than private care providers and we believe in choice between the v.a. and community providers. with the veteran population changing and becoming smaller and more dispersed with different medical needs, we think that provides the best model for caring for veterans. , this ismedical system
an example where congress has kicked the can down the road, they made fixes that have been good but it is delaying longer-term problems and congress needs to go back and take another look at the military conversation, retirement. and look at implementing some recommendations around military health care. guest: in regards to veterans leading, we had a great election as we sent dustman $17 million, million and got a great group of veterans elected, gain control of the house and three veterans are running for president on the democratic side. the roleery good about veterans will play and veterans are playing a much larger role in the political debate than the amount of people we represent. we have a young generation where only one person serves and
afghanistan veterans are playing a larger role in civics than the size of the group that serves. i feel bullish about veterans getting involved. health care is where we do not agree. we want to see a strong and robust v.a. when veterans return from war, every war has new wounds and the consolidated care gives us the ability to identify problems and experts to deal with these issues, whether post-traumatic stress or amputees. this is why we think the most optimal course of action going forward is to strengthen the v.a. that does not mean you should drive four hours to go to the doctor. this is how dan and i got here, veterans are applying for long-term disability benefits with the v.a. that is a huge bill.
it was $100 billion for the iraq war and every year for 12 years. no one took into the of paination the price with veterans for their lives and the best way to prevent making veterans is to stop fighting endless wars. when you talk about veterans care in the country, you talk about prevention, you have to look at the military and that is the issue that brought us together because we disagree on how to take care of veterans but why are we rearrange and the deck chairs on the titanic. ? host: dennis in port st. lucie, florida. guest: you guys make so much sense you should run the department of defense. you guys makeer: so much sense you should run the department of defense. i have learned a lot from you today, thank you. .uest: i appreciate that
i live in sarasota, i will never run for office but if you want to go fishing, call the show. guest: we have a great chapter in port st. lucie, i was there in february speaking so look us up and go to our website. and one of our staffers will get in touch with you. host: you mentioned the pentagon. we talked about ambassador bolton but what about the acting secretary? guest: he is a boeing guy. eisenhower,lk about not because he was a republican or democrat, he represents a different era. he said you have to be careful of the industry. i will not hold that against mr. shanahan.
i have a strong vision for american foreign policy and he represents a speed bump. liked somebody more robust with their opinion on the use of military force. guest: we have not taken a position on the current act dear -- acting secretary shanahan, we hope he will support a more restrained foreign policy and ultimately he will look for ways to make the department more efficient and make sure we are paying taxpayer dollars more wisely. putting an end to the endless cycle of increasing the top line money and understand that that is not sustainable in the long term. part of it is because we do not have a restrained foreign policy. that drive the top line more than anything and there are
still waste and inefficiency within the department. there was progress made the last few years and the pentagon is doing the first audit. i would hope patrick shanahan does not undermine that. there are some in the department that do not want to see the article he did because if they find stuff they do not need, less dollars go to the contractors. we do not want wasted money. if they find they do not need to buy something, like the first round of the audit found three dozen blackhawk helicopters that were not on the books of the army. that is helicopters they do not need to buy. we do not want unnecessary waste and unnecessary abuse of taxpayer dollars in the system. what will drive the pentagon budget is a more restrained foreign policy. host: steve in maryland, you are on with our guests. guest: thank you for your service, i did 20 years active
in the military and 1.5 years of reserve duty. regarding endless wars, such a contentious issue, wars are endless. this is the human condition, fortunately. look at the 20th century. today, you look at issues like boko haram kidnapping girls in the congo and we stand on the sideline. saddam hussein was a dictator who killed his own people. ortega killediel over 300 opposition journalists. we have a strong russian and chinese presence in the .aribbean, in central america i am the last person who wants to go to war and everybody is the same way. but when do we do something about people like daniel ortega in nicaragua? i believe we do need before military presence,
unfortunately, it is the way of the world. people ask why we should be the police of the world? who would you want to be the police of the world, russians, chinese? host: we will let you start. guest: the broader network we are a part of, we are not not interventionists and not pacifist as we recognize there are threats to american interest in the world and in some cases it should be a last resort and will need to begin with militarily. we think the pentagon budget has grown too much and still believe that we need the best military in the world and it needs to be financed and built to be the best in the world period. we are opposed to large drawnout conflicts like in iraq and afghanistan where the end date keeps changing or there is no date. those are not making us safer but distracting us.
the great our competition with emerging threats, potentially from china and with the russians reconstituting their capabilities. that has been a distraction from them. in regards to these dictators the caller laid out, these are not good people. daniel ortega is a commons dictator. -- communist dictator. so is kim jong-un. the president is doing the right thing with going to the table with the north koreans and understanding the alternative, a massive work that could kill allies is not in the americans interest and if it is not in our interest, we should not go after dictators militarily because we see what happens in libya and iraq. we ultimately make the situation worse when we arbitrarily overthrow these people. guest: i agree with dan.
threats to had been some of the greatest civilizations in the world, romans, greeks, napoleon. when we look at the overextension and the price to be involved in every place in the world, it is a concern. i disagree with the viewer because i do not find many of those situations in the u.s. national security interests. much like the debate around and is where the -- venezuela. we want congress to do the job, if you want to fight nicaragua, let's have a conversation. we have a posture now where politicians from no parties -- both parties are not doing their jobs and troops are all over the world. why are we in niger? why did green berets die there? who authorized it? what is going on in libya?
what is going on in somalia and why someone died? we are asking to have the debate. i am happy to have the debate with interventionist all over the country but now we are not having the conversation. host: you both come at this issue the same. responses theg same from republicans and democrats? guest: the great part of the alliance, you have the progressive caucus on board and like in yemen, the freedom caucus is on board and folks in the middle hiding. we're meeting with centrists this trip and saying you have to do your job and you cannot hide behind the next election. a lot ofe dynamic people outside of washington have a misconception that you need moderate and centrist in both parties to get stuff done. the human vote was driven by --
yemen vote was driven by mike lee and bernie sanders, they are in the senate, they had most of the freedom caucus, which people assume are a bunch of right-wing bomb throwers but they had runcible individuals -- principled individuals that worked with people who was more left on the progressive caucus. you had matt gaetz and ro khanna coming together around foreign policy and those groups help drive the vote forward and , centrist moderate members to support it and we got something done. we were disappointed the president vetoed it but not driven by moderates or people -- but very principled people, bernie sanders, mike lee. host: this is from tammy in new york.
we are running short on time to go in with your question or comment. caller: it is a military industrial complex, the president supports the veterans and the military and so do i. look up v.a. accountability act and marvin bush. it was clinton, obama, bush, and bush who started these wars. host: thank you. what goes through your mind and you hear military industrial complex? guest: we talked about this prior, the military-industrial complex, corporations involved in the injury when i was in iraq , i saw firsthand some of the members of the defense initiative selling programs that perhaps justifying contracts that were questionable. i think about people who do this at the pentagon.
that does not mean they are all bad. people who work there served. it is inflammatory. guest: not necessarily opposed to having a private industry. we do you want to keep the country safe but the issue is, as president eisenhower said in the farewell address, we have had weapons systems that have been wasted upon the military -- that has not made the military better. host: we have about one minute left. we hope we can find something else we can work together on. today, you meetings will have other meetings with congress? programt is a multitier
-- multitier program -- multi-year program. you will see us to virtue asian and polling -- you will see us do persuasion and polling. guest: we have a lot of good stuff in the works and hopefully we can come back and tell you about it. we are not a flash in the pan. this will be a long-term alliance. host: dan caldwell is the senior advisor for concerned veterans for america. vets is "washington journal" continues. this is our spotlight on magazine segment, and we are talking with john dale grover of the national interest. is the assistant managing director. i worried you to talk about iran for a couple of minutes. let me show you the headline from the ap, the good news coming out of we e